Thursday 19 July 2018

Killer 'shot Bobby Messett as he looked like Pete Taylor' - net closes in on Bray Gym attack gunman

Pete Taylor (left) was injured in the attack, while innocent grandfather Bobby Messett (50) was killed in the shooting
Pete Taylor (left) was injured in the attack, while innocent grandfather Bobby Messett (50) was killed in the shooting

Ken Foy

GARDAI investigating the Bray gym murder are close to making a breakthrough in the case, as they continue to examine thousands of hours of CCTV footage in a bid to nail the killer.

Independent.ie can reveal that:

  •  Officers believe the reckless gunman mistook innocent Bobby Messett for Pete Taylor due to the murder victim’s tanned, muscular body and tight haircut.
  • The gunman was caught on CCTV driving the getaway van for 15 minutes in the Irishtown area in rush-hour traffic while looking for a place to dump it, as he wore a disguise of a hat, glasses and a snood.
  • Shooting survivor Pete Taylor has finally been issued with a GIM form by gardai, officially warning of a threat against his life.
  • A small-time criminal from the north area of the capital, with links to the Kinahan cartel, has been identified as the shooter and detectives believe that he got help from others before and after the shooting.

No arrests have yet been made in relation to the shocking gun attack, which happened at Bray Boxing Club shortly before 7am on Tuesday, June 5.

Senior sources say that gardai believe it is “a pure miracle” that there were not more fatalities apart from Mr Messett (50), who was shot dead.

Bobby Messett
Bobby Messett

“The belief is that the gunman mistook the victim for Pete Taylor. Mr Messett was tanned and had plenty of muscle on him like Mr Taylor, as well as a very tight haircut,” a senior source said.

“He was working at a weights machine and had the misfortune of turning around suddenly when the gunman entered the gym and he was shot dead.”

Another innocent man, Ian Britton (35), from Bray, received minor injuries when he was also shot in the chaos.

BIZARRE

After the gun attack, in which a number of shots were discharged, the gunman fled Bray in a silver-coloured Volkswagen Caddy with Northern Irish plates and drove to the Irishtown area via Cornelscourt in south Dublin.

In a bizarre development, it can be revealed that the gunman drove around the Irishtown and Ringsend area for around 15 minutes during rush-hour before he eventually discarded the vehicle at Pigeon House Road sometime after 8am.

“The most likely explanation for this is that he was looking for a suitable place to dump the vehicle,” a source said.

“However, it is highly unusual for a hitman to act in this way in broad daylight on busy city streets with a garda alert in place for the vehicle he was driving.”

Pete Taylor and partner Karen Brown pictured in Belfast after the shooting
Pete Taylor and partner Karen Brown pictured in Belfast after the shooting

After finding a suitable location in Ringsend, the killer then took a bicycle from the back of his van and cycled to the north inner city.

The VW Caddy was not burnt out and officers are still trying to obtain vital DNA evidence from it.

Sources said that officers are confident they have identified the killer and although he has barely any previous criminal convictions, he has associates who are linked to the Kinahan cartel.

Within days of the murder, armed gardai raided his north inner city property and while no arrests were made, a number of “interesting items” were seized.

However, the handgun used in the barbaric attack has not yet been recovered and may have been dumped somewhere in south Dublin or north Wicklow during the murderer’s escape.

“Gardai are satisfied that the killer received help from a number of people both before and after the shooting,” a senior source said.

TARGET

Peter Taylor has denied being the gunman’s intended target
Peter Taylor has denied being the gunman’s intended target

“There is no doubt that people have been covering up for him in the aftermath of the shooting and he was given detailed information before the shooting happened.

“There is no evidence that the suspect or anyone else of interest carried out surveillance on the gym in the days and weeks before the murder," the source added.

Gardai are satisfied that Mr Taylor was the target of the attack.

It has emerged that there was a delay in Mr Taylor being issued with a GIM form because he travelled to Belfast and abroad after spending more than a week being treated for injuries to his arm after the shooting.

However, he returned to Bray for a number of days at the end of last month, where officers officially spoke to him and gave him detailed security advice.

Despite being under grave threat, there is no suggestion that Mr Taylor, who is the father of Olympic boxing champion Katie Taylor, or any of the boxers he coaches are involved in criminality.

Mr Taylor previously told a British newspaper that he is not involved with crime and believes that the shooting could have been an act of intimidation gone wrong.

Earlier, in his first statement after the shooting, Mr Taylor said he was “utterly heartbroken” following the deadly attack which claimed the life of his friend.

ANGUISH

Katie with dad Pete in the early days of her career
Katie with dad Pete in the early days of her career

“Words will never explain my excruciating anguish and devastation at the horrific, senseless attack at Bray Boxing Club,” he said.

“Bobby was my close friend, training partner and sparring mate. I am utterly heartbroken that he is gone.

“I cannot fathom the excruciating pain and heartache that this horrendous incident has inflicted on Bobby’s family. I cannot imagine their loss.

“To Bobby’s family and the members of Bray Boxing Club, who are my extended family, I express more sorrow than you may ever know or can believe,” he added.

Herald

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